Vocabulary in Your Non-Native Language: Learning in the Kitchen

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My own experience with cooking and language learning   

I’ve always been bad at recalling kitchen words.  I like to cook, and I’m not bad in the kitchen, but it always takes me a minute to remember the words like fennel and ramekin or to differentiate between coriander and colander.  

A cognitive scientist once told me that it was because the part of the brain that tastes and smells is farthest from the part of the brain responsible for word recall.  I’m unsure if this is true, but it might explain why I have so much trouble.  

Regardless, when I study foreign languages, I usually give myself a pass on kitchen words.  If I can’t tell a crisp from a cobbler in English, what chance do I stand in memorizing a list of German words from a vocabulary list?  

Experiential Learning in the Kitchen

But all this changed when I started taking Global LT’s German Virtual Experiences.  Virtual Experiences come in all different flavors (forgive the pun!): there are Virtual Experiences for kids and adults.  We offer Virtual Experiences focused on topics like culture and the workplace.  Some Virtual Experiences are conversational, while others are skill-building or introduce learners to unfamiliar parts of a new language or culture.  But my favorite Virtual Experiences are the virtual cooking classes.  Not only do you get to practice your vocabulary skills, but you have something delicious to eat when you’re finished.  

Most important, though, is the difference it makes in learning kitchen and food vocabulary while cooking.  In a German Virtual Experience, I’m not just learning the German language; I’m smelling German smells and tasting German tastes.  I’m acquiring words while cutting up natural fruits and vegetables and using real utensils and appliances.  It couldn’t be more different from memorizing a vocabulary list in a textbook or on an app.

Engaging all five senses while learning is invaluable to long-term success. I hear, see, smell, and touch parts of a language I would never be able to in a traditional classroom setting. Muscle memory takes on a whole new meaning when I’m actively learning. It also removes pressure. There are no tests at the end; there’s no grade. It’s just me, in my kitchen, with a delicious meal I got to prepare while having fun and learning a language. It’s unlike any other traditional language learning program I’ve seen.

So, next time you’re looking for a new dinner recipe or want to expand your repertoire in the kitchen, check out Global LT’s Virtual Experiences and learn a new language while doing it.  You don’t have to choose between cooking for your family and studying your language.  You can do both simultaneously (and along the way), and your family members become big fans of your language learning!).

Let us know if you’re interested in learning more about virtual experiences from Global LT. We can’t wait to see you in your kitchen soon!

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